What is Enlightenment?


Wow, this is such an old thread! Brings back memories :wink:

I found mention of agnosticism often being called barbarism here. I also found SD in dispute with another yoga practitioner, chiding him for “advertising a product”, apparently because he prefers a different meditation technique and advocates it as a way towards peace.

No, I think you need some context here. Ananda had been posting in several threads across the Yoga forum advertizing “Mahayoga” and his guru - making hyperbolic claims that it will instantly work and make you enlightened or whatever. This is not just called advertising, it is spamming. Nobody likes a spammer. So I was not chiding him, but calling him out.

I was feeling fairly queasy. Then I read TatTvamAsi. And want to weep.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be at peace.
Except the non-Hindu barbaric retard swine.

Haha, I see you have uncovered the old religion and culture wars that took place on this forum! These wars went on for months, and funnily enough it was the most active period of the forum. It is interesting how controversy provokes more interest!

Here too you need context, as a lot happened before then and a lot happened after then. The religion and culture wars started when Indians on this board started to challenge claims being made by some Western members on this board that Yoga predated Hinduism, or is not Hinduism, or is is a common practice that belongs to all religion, to some that claimed that was a common practice of all ancient cultures all over the world - every link between Yoga and Hinduism was denied. Some even said claims like, “The West took Yoga from Hinduism, and improved it” As you may understand this upset many Indians Hindus posting on board. So we fought back!

This fighting went on for a very long time, in fact there were vicious and violent debates - the Religion forum was created as a place where we could discuss these contentious issues. Unfortunately, I eventually fell out with my fellow Indian Hindus - because while I was arguing the issue of history, philosophy and culture vis-a-vis the West, many of them Neitzsche et al were arguing nationalism and racial supremacy. I even started a thread “Hindutva” to make it clear I was not nationalist and disagreed with nationalism. This caused rifts to develop between me and my Indian Hindu peers, and eventually we became enemies - especially after my criticisms of India and Indian people today. Sarvamangala was the last Hindu on this forum standing and became my arch enemy, and ganged up on me with Asuri who ironically was banned for three months for an extremely racist slur against Hindus(Now, he is banned altogether for constant personal attacks)

I also started a thread a few months ago entitled, “Why we should be all be Globalists: Deny nationalism” where again I came to war with Sarva the last Indian nationalist Hindu standing. Thus I have made it clear I am not nationalistic.

Tattvamasi was particularly extreme and even the other Indian nationalists did not always agree with him.

Now, why Indian nationalism? Where there is smoke, there is fire. There is nationalism because of how Western civilization undermines India’s civilization, appropriates its knowledge and technology, stereotypes it and dismisses it from important discourses. The racisn against India was staggering in the West, even up until today where the situation has improved only just. India still is not given credit for a lot of its contributions and inventions. Winston Churchill said “I hate those Indians, they are a beastly people with a beastly religion”

The West has freely distorted Indian history, systematically tried to wipe out its cultural legacy - and no other civilisation has suffered it so badly than the Indians. This is because the West knows India had a sophisticated and advanced civilization that was ahead of the West for much of the history of the world, and that India beat the West to the enlightenment, to science, philosophy, mathematics, technology, and that the West itself was indebted to India(indirectly through the Indo-Aryans, for its mathematics and number system, to its philosophies) This was in stark contrast to the Eurocentric worldview of Europe of the “white mans burden” How can you civilize a civilization that is more civilized than you are? lol So they denigrated it instead - spread lies and exaggerations about its caste system; exaggerated the minor military conquests of the Greeks(although the Greeks actually lost the war, and turned back!) and lied that all Indian philosophy was just an imperfect copy of the Greeks. In fact they even said the “zero” was Greek, but were forced to admit it was finally Indian when they discovered actual artifacts mentioning it.

Indians have faced a lot of humilation, injustice and torture at the hands of the Europeans - this is why Indian nationalism was born, and from that the Indian Independence struggle .


A person commented, after viewing one of me wee YouTube videos, that they had,
"…just wasted thirty-three seconds of my life."

To which moi responed,
“And as soon as you realize the same about every second before and after my video you will be enlightened.”

Stay on groovin’ safari,
:-o Tor :eek:


[QUOTE=High Wolf;57293]Ask a normal person, and the likely answer could be “knowing everything” (about socio-cultural issues).

Ask a natural scientist, and the likely answer could be “Einstein was enlightened.”

Ask a weed-smoker, and the likely answer could be “dude, i am high already!”

Ask Kant or Rousseau, and the likely answer could be "humanism sir, justice, equality…’

Ask a scientific Hindu like Surya, and the likely answer could be “find a guru, follow him for the rest of your life, he will transfer his consciousness to you. And after that practice meditation for a thousand lifetimes, and one day it will happen.”

Ask a Zen roshi, and the likely answer could be sth like “where is my pie?”

Ask an ascetic Yogi, and the likely answer could be “…”

Ask a Sioux shaman, and the likely answer could be “having been touched by the wisdom and the vision of Wakan Tanka.”


So many views, so few overlapping. Then the question is,

What is enlightenment? :p[/QUOTE]
Well…if you want my opinion, it’s nothing that can be spoken of. We can try, but I just fall back on the first line of the Tao Teh Ching (which always screws me up every time). lulz

I guess I like your ‘stoner’s answer’.

However, I shall provide my own (not that I am enlightened or anything). :razz:

It’s that which exists in and of itself, needing no substantiation or verification.
It’s that which is only discerable through action not speech.
It is the very blade of discrimination, severing the bonds of ignorance.
It is that which remains after everything else has been removed.


Aum Namah Shivaya


Not being in conflict with that what IS , being in complete harmony with all levels of your being. Loose , pure , with gentle flow in the great river of existence.


It’s easy to say that enlightenment means something different to everyone, but that may be a cop out. After all, what use would language be if we didn’t have definitions? That being said, the OP did a pretty good job at identifying different definitions from many we would consider “enlightened.” Take from it what you will. Enlightenment seems to me to be simply the ability to see things in the world from a broader context. To contemplate meaning of everyday activity and common thought. Does it automatically lead to something better or something good? I don’t think that would be within the scope of the definition of enlightenment.


The Vedantic view is that every one is already Self Realised. There is however a veil of ignorance which covers this truth. When the veil falls, we see that that there is nothing in the world but consciousness and all beings living ,non living are manifestations of this consciousness.


As per vedic texts, enlightenment is the stage when a person understands the difference between real and unreal, looses passion and attachment for unreal, master the five senses - so learns to use them only for attaining knowledge not indulging in them, and understands the true nature of the soul.

I am a vedic philosophy teacher for last 14 years, if you have any question please dont hesitate to ask, thank you.


What, then, is your definition of real? How do you determine what is real and what is not?


[QUOTE=Supafly;83098]What, then, is your definition of real? How do you determine what is real and what is not?[/QUOTE]

Since this is Vedanta we are talking about, permit me to give a couple of defintions (Please forgive the Sanskrit- I can’t resist it being a teacher of Vedanta :wink: )

Vedanta talks about a quality called Viveka- Discrimination. Viveka is defined as

“*nityavastvekaM brahma tadhvyatiriktaM sarvamanityam
ayameva nityaanityavastuviveka:”

Nitya Vastu Ekam?Brahman–Brahman is the only eternal truth
Tad Vyatiriktam…(Except that)
Sarvam Anityam-everything is non eternal
Ayam Eva ?. Only this
Nitya Anitya Vastu Vivekam - Viveka is understanding this difference between the eternal and non eternal.

Translated as :- There is only one thing that is the real and that in Brahman (Consciousness). Apart from that everything is non real. Viveka is understanding the difference between the real and the non real.

The real is defined as that which has never been born, always is and which can never be destroyed. Only Consciousness fits this definition. Everything else is therefore unreal. Which is why Vedanta talks about there being only one truth.


It is one of yoga’s apparent paradoxes that on its face appears to mean, “what we see and feel is unreal and what we can’t even fathom is real”. Many surface thinkers turn away at this point.

What we fail to realize is that discovery of truth/reality is a process, a journey. This is a transforming process, which begins with a realization that what one was holding till then as ‘the’ truth was only a relative truth. The discovery cascades through many layers until the final realization that it is consciousness alone that is real. Everything else is born from it and exists only because it is so perceived, hence relatively unreal.

The reason why we fail to realize this is our complete reliance on awareness. When we become aware of anything we become part of it and stop realizing that the process of cognition is apart from our true self, not integral to it. Thus, time and space define our experiences compelling us to take them as real. It takes conscious efforts to get rid of these compulsions, to suspend our identity with the perceived world and return to just being conscious. This paradox is resolved only then.


Going into the darkness.


""What is enlightenment ? "

Great question. You will find many different answers - depending on which teacher the student has studied with.

I am a vedantic -so let me answer that question from the vedantin’s view point.

The primary teaching of the advaitic school (Sankaracarya) is that there is only one substance of which the entire universe is composed. And that is called “Brahman”. This is a formless, all pervading entity.
Any object that we experience in this universe is only a name and form superimposed on Brahman. The easiest way to understand this is by thinking of Gold as the substance of which all ornaments are made. What is the difference between a necklace and Gold ? There is a form superimposed on the Gold and and this is form is given a name called necklace. But the existence of this necklace ie the form and the name is not separate from the Gold. Remove the Gold and the name and form also disappear.

Vedanta says that you are essentially Brahman. You are manifesting in this universe , as a seeming individual , because of the name and form. And you (mistakenly) think that you are the name and the form instead of your real self Brahman.

Because of this mistaken notion, we take ownership of all the limitations of the name and form ie birth, disease, old age , death etc and superimpose it on ourselves. Unable to reconcile to this (seeming) limitation we spend our life in misery . This in short is bondage.

What Vedanta emphasizes is that this limitation is an assumed one and not a real one. All that is required to shake off the limitation is the correct understanding that we are Brahman. This shift in understanding from the erroneous ides of ourselves as a limited finite miserable entity to an infinite ageless deathless entity in whom all names and forms arise, stay and dissolve , is what is called moksha or freedom.

Moksha is therefore freedom from the notion of being a limited entity. Note that the freedom is only in understanding - you are already Brahman - infinite -so there is not question of "becoming infinite ".

This is an extremely compressed view of what the vedantic view. I would be more than happy to address all questions in depth.


The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a philosophical movement that took place primarily in Europe and, later, in North America, during the late 17th and early 18th century.